Posts Tagged ‘WWE Smackdown Live’

WWE’s second Mixed Match Challenge season has been quietly plodding along on Tuesday nights, with the fun, throwaway Facebook Watch competition offering light relief from Raw and SmackDown’s serious business.

Its tone and general lack of attention often make the MMC feel inconsequential, but WWE have just found a way to make it matter.

Per their official announcement, the winner’s of this year’s tournament will not only receive an all-expenses-paid holiday to a country of their choice, but they’ll also enter their respective Royal Rumbles at number 30.

As things currently stand, Ember Moon and Braun Strowman, Mickie James and Bobby Lashley, Asuka and The Miz, and Charlotte Flair and AJ Styles’ perfect 3-0 records make them the current favourites to win. Naomi and Jimmy Uso and Bayley and Finn Balor are behind them at 2-2, while Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal, Natalya and Bobby Roode, Carmella and R-Truth, and Rusev and Lana are all winless.

This year’s Mixed Match Challenge will conclude with one final match at the upcoming TLC pay-per-view (16 December). As WWE’s last major show of the year, it’ll likely be the point at which they begin building to the Rumble, with the MMC victories sitting pretty.

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Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles in the main event of tonight’s WWE SmackDown to become the new WWE Champion.

The finish of the match saw Bryan hit a low blow on Styles. Bryan then turned heel and attacked Styles after the match, laughing at him while the beatdown continued.

Bryan is now a four-time WWE Champion. Styles won the title back on November 7, 2017 by defeating Jinder Mahal on a SmackDown episode.

Bryan will now go on to Sunday’s Survivor Series pay-per-view to face WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar because of the title change.

Charlotte Flair recently spoke with Sport Bible at this link. Flair said her Last Woman Standing loss to SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch at WWEEvolution was her best performance yet.

“It was a culmination of learning, us being best friends and it being the all-women’s pay-per-view,” Charlotte said of Evolution. “It’s a chance for all the women to show what they have and say, ‘No, I’m the best!’ – it just raises the bar. That’s why I like having two brands; Smackdown wants to be better than Raw, Raw wants to be better than Smackdown – it creates competition and you have to have competition. I think [the] Last Woman Standing [match] has been my best performance so far.”

Flair admitted she was nervous going into the Evolution match as it tested her abilities because of how different it was.

“I was actually nervous about the Last Woman Standing match match because not having a count or a pinfall, I’ve never had one of these,” Flair said. “At least with the Falls Count Anywhere you’re still getting a count! I think the last women’s standing match has to be the most challenging but I wish I could go back and redo my Hell in a Cell match because I wish I was the talent back then that I am now and I would have done so many things different and better.”

Flair went on about how she and Becky went into Evolution wanting to steal the show with a match that would stand the test of time, and she thinks they did just that because of how much emotion was put into it. She also said she feels like she’s getting better at connecting with fans.

“If you look at the Last Woman Standing match, it was the storytelling, the emotion, the psychology and the selling,” Flair said. “Just in the last six months I feel like things are clicking. I’ve been able to be a bad guy and I’ve been able to be a good guy so I see what each side needs but once you figure out it’s all about having a connection with the audience, it’s not about the moves – you just put the moves where you want.”

Charlotte also talked about how she continues to lean on her father, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair for advice. The Nature Boy keeps his daughter updated with RAW happenings, regularly attends her big matches and is always there to offer help.

“I remember walking out at Hell in a Cell and I asked what if they don’t buy it and he said, ‘Oh, just call it out there, feel it’ and I’m just like, ‘WHAT?!’. He helps me more with confidence, just when you first walk out of Gorilla that’s the most important moment because if you believe in yourself no matter whether you are a good guy or bad guy, the audience is going to believe in you,” Charlotte said. “He helps me with presence and believing in myself because I feel like that’s half the battle; having the confidence in the ring. You can have all the moves in the book but if you don’t take a moment to really soak in, embrace and really demand that attention. It’s something you can’t teach.”

Current WWE SmackDown Live General Manager Paigerecently caught up with Dave LaGreca and WWE Hall Of Famer Mark Henry on Busted Open Radio. Among many other interesting pro wrestling topics, Paige talked about giving advice to young WWE Superstars and the awkwardness of approaching veterans with wrestling tips.

According to Paige, she loves giving advice to the young talent such as her former Absolution stablemates Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville as well as The IIconics.

“Yeah, I do [pull WWE Superstars aside and offer advice] and, like, I try especially when it comes to, I feel like I kind of mother Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville a little bit because, obviously, I was in Tough Enough with them as their judge. And also, they brought them up kind of on the road with me when I first came back again. And so any time they have a match and stuff, I’ll call them aside and be like, ‘do you know what? This would look really good if you did it this way.’ They’re so great that they will, like, listen too. And the same with The IIconics as well. The girls always come up to me after every match and ask, ‘well, what did you think?’ And I love it. I love it because I can’t be in the ring anymore, so anything I can give back is amazing and I can live vicariously through them. I’m like, ‘well, do this! That would be great!'” Paige added, “so yeah, I love doing that kind of thing.”

Conversely, Paige feels weird about approaching WWE veterans with advice.

“Sometimes, a lot of the girls are really experienced, that we have already.” Paige explained, “they’ve been doing it a long time, so I feel kind of weird going up to them and going, ‘hey, do this – it would be way better.'”

Things started to change for Becky Lynch when her mindset started to change. She was no longer content with just being another Women’s Superstar and went after the proverbial brass rings that Vince McMahon always talks about.

Lynch chatted with Sam Roberts about when the perception about her started to change which led to more people backstage noticing her crowd reactions.

“I will say that I think around Money in the Bank was when it kind of came to light and people were behind me and people have really supported me along the way. There was a time when I was down and wasn’t really doing anything. I was doing interviews at WrestleMania, so 2017 wasn’t really my best year,” admitted Lynch. “I am trying to change that now. I think that at Money in the Bank 2018 people were caring and people really wanted me to win Money in the Bank. When I climbed that ladder, they were heavily cheering me and it was noticed. Eventually, you end up snapping after you keep doing the right thing from time in and time out.

“You work your hardest. You have showed up on time and haven’t missed a beat. You haven’t missed a day off, you haven’t missed a week off. People tend to notice that, and eventually enough is enough somebody is going to hand it to you and you have to take it, so that is why people can identify with that. I have been silently working, even if I haven’t had a storyline and I had been on television losing to somebody and I think people said enough was enough.”

WWE has booked Lynch to be a heel ever since she turned on Charlotte and attacked her best friend at SummerSlam. But the WWE Universe has embraced Lynch’s heelish tactics and is cheering her like never before. Lynch was asked if she was surprised at being cheered as a heel.

“I don’t know how surprising that is to me because, like I said, anybody can identify with that story. Anybody can identify with the story of feeling overlooked and feeling frustrated after doing the right thing for three-and-a-half years and not going anywhere with it,” stated Lynch. “So you finally realize, you know what I am tired of this crap, I am going to do what it takes because I have been cheated out of championships and cheated out of opportunities because there were lines I wasn’t willing to cross, but now it doesn’t matter. I am willing to cross any line to take what I want.

“Anyone can identify with that. Most people stay in line and are grinding their teeth and continue to listen to what their boss is yelling at them and telling them what to do, but you know what? I am doing my best over here. I am doing the right thing, but they do want to sound off where they say enough is enough. I have proven myself time and time again, now it is time for you to see how good I am.”

Lynch has been living in the shadow of Charlotte for most of her time in WWE, and that was something she definitely noticed. While she was supportive of her former friend, Lynch says she is no longer sitting back and letting others take opportunities away from her.

“You can look at that and say – so, I’ve even told Charlotte this; you always get these opportunities and all of these appearances, and it’s like, oh man, you want to be happy for her but you also think to yourself, well, I wish I was on that appearance or I wish I was on the front of that poster. But you have to witness it and pretend to be that happy best friend, but now it’s like, no, I want this and I am going to take it,” said Lynch.

We noted before how WWE has plans to use Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita in the future as big pay-per-view events like the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. Word now is that WWE is already working on plans for Team Bestie in early 2019 as we go into WrestleMania 35 season.

WWE officials are reportedly planning on using Trish and Lita at WrestleMania 35, according to PWInsider. The idea is to use the two in a major tag team match but there’s no word yet on who their opponents might be.

Trish and Lita returned to the ring together at WWE Evolution on Sunday night, defeating Mickie James and Alicia Fox. They then worked a 10-woman match on RAW the next night, teaming with Natalya, Sasha Banks and Bayley to defeat Mickie, Fox and The Riott Squad. It’s believed that they will be back around towards the end of the year.

There’s obvious speculation on Trish and Lita being involved with the planned WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles, which are expected to be revealed soon. Stephanie McMahon spoke with Sky Sports last week and said we would see the titles “sooner rather than later” but she did not elaborate.

Stephanie McMahon spoke with Cathy Kelley earlier today to discuss the women’s division and tonight’s WWE Evolution PPV. Here are some of the highlights:

WWE holding more all-women events:

“I think it is very safe to say. I think if tonight’s event is what we all hope and know it will be, then we will absolutely see that this is the first of many to come.”

A women’s main event at WrestleMania:

“I hope the legacy of [WWE Evolution] will be that it’s not so groundbreaking or Earth shattering to have an all-women’s event. I hope to see our women main event WrestleMania. Every match at WrestleMania is a main event, but I want to see them close the show. The way they have successfully in so many other shows. We want true gender parity and equality on the WWE roster and I’m just so anxious to get there, but today is hugely important step in that mission.”

Triple H’s influence in bringing in more women and changing how talents are trained in NXT:

“He started recruiting elite athletes, male and female, the same all over the world. He started training the women same as the men. Bringing in the first-ever women’s coach, Sara Amato. On the live events he was giving women the same amount of match time. On television at NXT the same amount of match time, and when these women were given the opportunity they were quite often stealing the show. That’s when the WWE Universe started chanting ‘women’s wrestling’ and ‘this is wrestling’ and that is really the biggest moment that gave rise to the ‘give divas a chance’ chant and hashtag that happened for WWE in 2015.”